bioenthusiast
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Hi all,
This is a bit of a rant. I keep seeing posts where arrogant people put down people doing non STEM based subjects and telling them that the subjects they study are irrelevant.
Can I just ask - what is your problem? Just because someone isn't doing all 3 sciences and maths doesn't mean they're not intelligent. It doesn't mean they can't get a good job either - I know of people with degrees in Politics / History/ International Business and are now earning over £70k doing a job they enjoy. This is random but I felt like it needs to be addressed - whilst I understand STEM subjects are important and needed, so are non STEM subjects!

(By the way I personally do a mix of STEM and non STEM)
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EstelOfTheEyrie
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(Original post by bioenthusiast)
Hi all,
This is a bit of a rant. I keep seeing posts where arrogant people put down people doing non STEM based subjects and telling them that the subjects they study are irrelevant.
Can I just ask - what is your problem? Just because someone isn't doing all 3 sciences and maths doesn't mean they're not intelligent. It doesn't mean they can't get a good job either - I know of people with degrees in Politics / History/ International Business and are now earning over £70k doing a job they enjoy. This is random but I felt like it needs to be addressed - whilst I understand STEM subjects are important and needed, so are non STEM subjects!

(By the way I personally do a mix of STEM and non STEM)
As someone who is taking non STEM subjects, I know where you're coming from. I also think quite a lot of it can come from a gender bias? For me personally, I loved STEM subjects at GCSE level, and was hoping to take a couple at A-level, but in Year 11 the difference between a sexist physics teacher, and a supportive history teacher made the difference between my choice.
And it shows. In the physics classes at my sixth form, there's 5 girls in TOTAL taking the subject. And only one of those is a 2nd year. but then you get psychology which is female-dominated in lessons, which gains stigma for being easy? It's not (take it from someone who failed AS psych)
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username3280668
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I don't why people are personally​ against STEM, but in terms of the wider society, I think there's more of a demand for people with STEM degrees than non STEM. Like there's a significant shortage of software engineers, while you wouldn't be hard pressed to find people with history degrees for example. And I think that's reflected in unemployment rates. Though they may be exceptions. To be honest, I think STEM degrees are better than non STEM degrees, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna speak down on people taking non STEM subjects.
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username3186268
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(Original post by EstelOfTheEyrie)
As someone who is taking non STEM subjects, I know where you're coming from. I also think quite a lot of it can come from a gender bias? For me personally, I loved STEM subjects at GCSE level, and was hoping to take a couple at A-level, but in Year 11 the difference between a sexist physics teacher, and a supportive history teacher made the difference between my choice.
And it shows. In the physics classes at my sixth form, there's 5 girls in TOTAL taking the subject. And only one of those is a 2nd year. but then you get psychology which is female-dominated in lessons, which gains stigma for being easy? It's not (take it from someone who failed AS psych)
Well actually Physics for some reason doesn't have many female applicants and it isn't because of sexist physics teachers. In my school 2/3 of the people doing the common STEM set (Biology, Chemistry, Maths) are girls. It just so happens that more boys do physics? I don't know why that is but I don't think we can blame sexist physics teachers.

As for the negative stigma around non STEM subjects is because they are easy. You may find psychology hard and maybe it has its difficult parts. But it is laughable to compare a subject like psychology with further maths? This difficulty difference becomes even more apparent when it comes to Media and Maths, Sport and Biology, Photography and Chemistry. You cannot compare the subjects. Therefore I believe the negative outlook is because of jealousy at how easy they are? You ain't really testing yourself with them? There is a reason why they are not facilitating subjects.


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Arran90
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Very few girls took A Level Electronics when I was at college. Electronics is not a facilitating subject although IMO it should be.
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Pidge Gunderson
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Because STEM subjects contribute more to society. There's far more demand for STEM subjects, and for good reason too; engineers, doctors, scientists. All of these professions will be and are at the forefront of our currently rapidly developing world.
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Arran90
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STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics?

Where exactly does Technology and Engineering fit into the grand scheme of things? The traditional sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and Mathematics are respected subjects and facilitating subjects at A Level. Technology and engineering subjects are deemed to be unimportant minor subjects - such as Electronics, Engineering, or D&T - Systems and Control at GCSE, and Electronics is not a facilitating subject at A Level. Even the new Computer Science A Level is not a facilitating subject so could be viewed as inferior to traditional science A Levels. I also believe that this effect will propagate downwards and jeopardise the Computer Science GCSE. There are also other science GCSEs - such as Astronomy and Environmental Science - and the statistics GCSE but they are considered to be minor subjects.

Do you think that technology and engineering subjects are badly marginalised and STEM doesn't really live up to its name?
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username738914
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(Original post by Arran90)
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics?

Where exactly does Technology and Engineering fit into the grand scheme of things? The traditional sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and Mathematics are respected subjects and facilitating subjects at A Level. Technology and engineering subjects are deemed to be unimportant minor subjects - such as Electronics, Engineering, or D&T - Systems and Control at GCSE, and Electronics is not a facilitating subject at A Level. Even the new Computer Science A Level is not a facilitating subject so could be viewed as inferior to traditional science A Levels. I also believe that this effect will propagate downwards and jeopardise the Computer Science GCSE. There are also other science GCSEs - such as Astronomy and Environmental Science - and the statistics GCSE but they are considered to be minor subjects.

Do you think that technology and engineering subjects are badly marginalised and STEM doesn't really live up to its name?
university courses exist

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Arran90
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(Original post by Princepieman)
university courses exist
Are you trying to imply the technology and engineering subjects should be confined to university and not feature at level 2 or level 3 as respectable and valued qualifications?

Should more efforts be made to make technology and engineering subjects respectable and valued qualifications at level 2 and level 3? If not, then does it make STEM a misnomer for schools and colleges if techology and engineering subjects are marginalised / undervalued / not facilitating / not worthwhile or any combination of these?
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username738914
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(Original post by Arran90)
Are you trying to imply the technology and engineering subjects should be confined to university and not feature at level 2 or level 3 as respectable and valued qualifications?

Should more efforts be made to make technology and engineering subjects respectable and valued qualifications at level 2 and level 3? If not, then does it make STEM a misnomer for schools and colleges if techology and engineering subjects are marginalised / undervalued / not facilitating / not worthwhile or any combination of these?
no, I mean your broad view "Technology" and "Engineering" courses being seen as less respected doesn't hold for university at all.

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AGBF
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(Original post by Lmacwilliam)
Well actually Physics for some reason doesn't have many female applicants and it isn't because of sexist physics teachers. In my school 2/3 of the people doing the common STEM set (Biology, Chemistry, Maths) are girls. It just so happens that more boys do physics? I don't know why that is but I don't think we can blame sexist physics teachers.

As for the negative stigma around non STEM subjects is because they are easy. You may find psychology hard and maybe it has its difficult parts. But it is laughable to compare a subject like psychology with further maths? This difficulty difference becomes even more apparent when it comes to Media and Maths, Sport and Biology, Photography and Chemistry. You cannot compare the subjects. Therefore I believe the negative outlook is because of jealousy at how easy they are? You ain't really testing yourself with them? There is a reason why they are not facilitating subjects.


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Buddy if you want to make that arguement, subjects such as MFL,English,History are part of the facilitating subjects, though science is more predominant in that area.
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Arran90
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(Original post by Princepieman)
no, I mean your broad view "Technology" and "Engineering" courses being seen as less respected doesn't hold for university at all.
I'm talking about school and college level education, not university.

If technology and engineering courses at schools and colleges are marginalised subjects and seen as badly inferior to traditional sciences then the use of the term STEM in relation to school and college education (such as initiatives to encourage more students to take STEM subjects or improve the teaching facilities for STEM subjects) becomes misleading or deceptive if STEM doesn't actually include technology and engineering subjects, or students take technology and engineering subjects thinking that they are quality subjects then finding out that they aren't valued by employers or universities.

I also believe that there is a negative attitude towards technology and engineering subjects at school and college level on TSR because so few people seem to be studying them. The position of technology and engineering at school and college level as STEM subjects needs to be given serious consideration or else the use of STEM discontinued if only traditional sciences and mathematics are worthwhile subjects of value.
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NatsP29
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My college was very STEM heavy. However not only were the traditional sciences emphasized, but technology and engineering were too as we're a vocational amd academic college, with HUGE vocational training facilities such as workshop's, salons and restaurant's. We also have the local Rolls Royce boys do their apprenticeships here too. So my college was a perfect example of valuing STEM subjects. I.e the engineering course included electronics wielding etc.
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username3186268
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(Original post by AGBF)
Buddy if you want to make that arguement, subjects such as MFL,English,History are part of the facilitating subjects, though science is more predominant in that area.
I don't see any negative stigma around those subjects? It's the other ones that really get bashed for being easy. Even so, what are you going to do with a degree in English and History which you can't do with a degree in STEM? Even MFL you'd be hard pushed to find someone in STEM who doesn't know a MFL. Everything other subjects do STEM can do better. After all, every subject is just applied STEM when you think about it.
https://www.physicsforums.com/attach...ty-png.146187/


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Arran90
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I have A Levels in Computing (now replaced by Computer Science) and Electronics. In my experience they are heavy going academic subjects that are probably as academically rigorous as A Level Chemistry and Biology, but they are not facilitating subjects. Some universities will not accept me for a Computer Science degree because they require TWO facilitating subjects at A Level and I only have one which is Mathematics. The stupid thing is that I would be accepted if I had A Levels in Chemistry or History or even Urdu, which are facilitating subjects, despite them being far less relevant to computer science than Computing and Electronics are.

IMO technology and engineering subjects are in an awkward position of being tougher and academically more demanding than the majority of 'soft' subjects that are not facilitating subjects but they are not facilitating subjects themselves so they are deemed inferior to traditional sciences which are facilitating subjects.
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ThePricklyOne
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(Original post by Arran90)
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics?

Where exactly does Technology and Engineering fit into the grand scheme of things? The traditional sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and Mathematics are respected subjects and facilitating subjects at A Level. Technology and engineering subjects are deemed to be unimportant minor subjects - such as Electronics, Engineering, or D&T - Systems and Control at GCSE, and Electronics is not a facilitating subject at A Level. Even the new Computer Science A Level is not a facilitating subject so could be viewed as inferior to traditional science A Levels. I also believe that this effect will propagate downwards and jeopardise the Computer Science GCSE. There are also other science GCSEs - such as Astronomy and Environmental Science - and the statistics GCSE but they are considered to be minor subjects.

Do you think that technology and engineering subjects are badly marginalised and STEM doesn't really live up to its name?
What's important at GCSEs / A Levels does not mean that the same is true at university level. You don't need GSCE / A Level in Japanese to take it at degree level but that doesn't mean Japanese is 'marginalised'.

I don't think tech and engineering subjects are marginalised - they're where you'd go if you want the big wage packets. Many of biggest employers (think Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc) are tech and engineering based and hire loads of people with tech and engineering degrees.

The only downside I can see for tech degrees is that they go out of date very quickly as IT, unlike traditional courses, change very quickly and you'd need to retrain to stay relevant in the profession. That can be very expensive.
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Arran90
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(Original post by ThePricklyOne)
What's important at GCSEs / A Levels does not mean that the same is true at university level. You don't need GSCE / A Level in Japanese to take it at degree level but that doesn't mean Japanese is 'marginalised'.
The problem is that STEM is not a term confined to university level education. It is also equally applies to school and college level education, and insufficient thought has been given to the position of technology and engineering at school and college level.

I don't think tech and engineering subjects are marginalised - they're where you'd go if you want the big wage packets. Many of biggest employers (think Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc) are tech and engineering based and hire loads of people with tech and engineering degrees
There are also people working in technology and engineering careers who have technology and engineering qualifications lower than a degree level.


The only downside I can see for tech degrees is that they go out of date very quickly as IT, unlike traditional courses, change very quickly and you'd need to retrain to stay relevant in the profession. That can be very expensive.
That is a valid point. A physics or chemistry course from 1990 may be just as valid today but a computing course from 1990 might as well be ancient history.
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ThePricklyOne
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(Original post by Arran90)
The problem is that STEM is not a term confined to university level education. It is also equally applies to school and college level education, and insufficient thought has been given to the position of technology and engineering at school and college level.
There's a lot of emphasis on STEM courses at all levels, which why I don't feel it is marginalised at all. The problem with school /college level STEM courses is that the governments keeps fiddling with the courses/exams so it's more about getting more passes rather than ensuring that school/college leavers are proficient in their STEM knowledge.

(Original post by Arran90)
There are also people working in technology and engineering careers who have technology and engineering qualifications lower than a degree level.
But that's the best part about tech and eng, you can enter at many different levels, unlike law and medicine where it helps to be rich.

(Original post by Arran90)
That is a valid point. A physics or chemistry course from 1990 may be just as valid today but a computing course from 1990 might as well be ancient history.
STEM is going to be huge area of growth for jobs in the near future when everything is going to be computerised/ run by robots. I think it makes sense for the govt to fund cheap or free refresher courses for STEM grads with out of date degrees so they can be in a job instead of going on the dole.
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Doones
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(Original post by AGBF)
Buddy if you want to make that arguement, subjects such as MFL,English,History are part of the facilitating subjects, though science is more predominant in that area.
Not if you list each language separately...



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Doones
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(Original post by Arran90)
That is a valid point. A physics or chemistry course from 1990 may be just as valid today but a computing course from 1990 might as well be ancient history.
Computing principles haven't changed that much. Programming languages have though. But the first OOPL was in the 60s, and concepts/areas such as OO, networks, databases, RISC, etc were certainly taught in the 90s.

A 90s, or 80s, CompSci-er is not a dinosaur...

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